Best Places To Meet and Eat in the San Fernando Valley
I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in the city of Van Nuys, which, on the rare occasion there is light traffic, is about 35 minutes from Downtown LA. It is a giant melting pot full of small businesses, a rich culture for California cuisine, and an array of places to visit and meet people.
Going over the hill can be torturous, and for some unavoidable, but with more places popping up in SFV every year its getting more intriguing to explore the valley and it's becoming an amazing place connect, network, and visit just like many parts of SoCal.
As an entrepreneur living and working in the valley, networking and meeting with other businesses and entrepreneurs is a must to grow my company. That means going all over LA to make the contacts.
Los Angeles can be expensive, and the deeper you get into the city the higher the price and more scarce the parking can get. After years of going all over LA to meet with clients I found that, 99% of the time these meetings involve food and drinks of some sort...so you don't want things to get too pricey. Thats why the valley has some benefits that make it quite a good place to set up meetings that involve a little munchies with affordable options. .
As a foodie and business owner I wanted to put together a list of my favorite places to "meet and eat" in the San Fernando Valley, that will keep you within your budget and timeframe in a city full of hustle and bustle. Now believe me, I can name a ton of places I love to go eat in the valley, but this is not just about food, but about convenience, affordability, and ambiance that are fit for business meetings.
"But First Coffee" is the slogan for my first pick, Alfred's Coffee in Studio City. A lot of people start their day with coffee so why not have a meeting over a cup. Finally opening up a location in the Valley, this small spot of delicious coffee and treats has been a go to for me since I visited their Brentwood location and fell in love with its neighborhood like feel. Alfred's Studio City, has found a perfect space for locals to go to without spending too much cash for quality pressed and brewed coffee, usually between $3-5 for drinks. Parking is located on the street, which can be a problem, but its open at 6AM so its perfect for an early morning meeting. The place is never too loud either, or crowded in the morning so you'll find it easy to have your business sit down.
I never find it useful to do business in loud spaces as it can be very distracting, so to find a place with a perfect balance can be tough anywhere in LA, but my next location has the balance. Aroma Coffee & Tea Company might be one of my favorite places ever in general, mainly because of its location and ambiance.
Located near the 101, this homey cafe has a comfortable feel with little nooks perfect for large or small meetings. The location is outdoor & indoors with water stations on almost ever corner, and even a fireplace to keep you warm on those rare cold days in the LA.
You can park on the street for up to 2 hours, they have free WiFi, are dog friendly, and have a lot of seating.
Quick Tip: this place can get packed, especially on the weekends, so avoiding high meal times.
You order at the door so, if you get stuck in long line, don't worry, their amazing service makes wait times fast and once you walk through their front door filled with homemade pastries, its a huge conversation starter for any meeting. And if you aren't planning on eating at your meetings, the free water, and extremely large assortment of teas will make it all the more worth it when staying within budget.
If you're looking for a spot that has locations all over the city, this next option will be perfect for you.
Blu Jam Cafe has become very popular in the last few years opening up locations in Woodland Hills, Tarzana, and Downtown LA, which is no surprise, have you tried their crunchy french toast? The fact that there are so many locations throughout LA county makes this place accessible and a good option no matter what side of the hill you're on, but the Tarzana location in the valley is by far my fav.
All locations for Blu Jam have free Wifi, and most are dog friendly, but not all have convenient parking, so that what makes this place stand out! With a parking structure located behind Whole Foods, I mean what more can you ask for when you're rushing from meeting to meeting. It even says "Ample Parking in Rear" on their website.
Quick tip: Parking is free in the morning and early afternoon.
Aside from that, Blu Jam offers an array of affordable foods that fit anyone's palate whether you're vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, or a carnivore like me, making it an easy choice especially when you've never met the client and aren't sure what their diet is. I love ordering their fresh juices for less than $5, like the orange, carrot, and apple or their signature carrot, apple, and ginger juice. Blu Jam also offers a good environment that celebrates the culture of Jazz, with a great and friendly staff, which will make you and your meet up comfortable and at ease.
Crave Cafe in Studio City is one of those places you can meet at anytime because its open 24/7. Perfect suggestion for people you're meeting outside of the valley coming from areas like Beverly Hills, WeHo, and Hollywood, since it's located by Laurel Canyon Blvd. which can easily take drivers in and out of the valley.
Free WiFi and not too packed, this location has a lot of parking due to Trader Joe's and other stores in the plaza. The service is speedy, and polite, with great quality goodies. I love their Affogato (vanilla ice cream and coffee), and their sweet crepes start as low at $8 which isn't bad for a good crepe. Their other meals aren't too pricey either if you're looking for something savory like their signature pizzas.
Quick Tip: If you're on a tight schedule with your meeting, you can order online and not wait in line.
With multiple locations in the valley and all over the US, this Chicago import has been a staple for many in the valley for years with its affordable tasty sweets, and coffees. The Corner Bakery in each of the valley locales have plenty of parking, free Wifi, with minimal lines. The quaint atmosphere makes for great conversation during meetings and an easy place to find on any GPS.
There are many places you can go to have interesting meetings the Valley, and these locations I listed have definitely brought me convenience and successful meetings while tasting great food and creating a memorable experience. Instead of just going to your local Starbucks, or driving over the hill to DTLA, for your next meeting consider saving some gas, time, and money by exploring some of these spots in SFV.